It is not unusual to find a random bag or box of produce on our doorstep. Especially in autumn when fruit is plentiful and there is more than enough to go around, a kind neighbour or friend will often drop off their excess. This has been a welcome gift this year due to the low harvest of many of our fruit trees. Usually by now we have over 100 jars of preserves stored away in the pantry. This year, only around 20. It has been a bad year, with not enough sun, too much rain and high winds right at the crucial fruit setting time. So, when I came home to a box of figs on my doorstep recently it was like Christmas!
The figs were gifted from my friend Emily whose family has a large fig and feijoa orchard, Old Road Estate, in Marlborough. The large tray of figs that arrived was rather impressive, and I squeezed as much out of it as I possibly could. Including a batch of my favourite Slow-cooked Fig & Lemon Jam plus a repeat of my Rustic Fig Tart from this time last year. And with a handful of figs to spare and some local crafted chocolate in the pantry I decided to make a chocolate and fig torte. The sweet caramelised figs are the perfect match for the dense fudge-cake texture of the torte. If figs are not available (or your tree didn’t produce any fruit like ours 🙁 ) then wedges of pear would also be a great topping here.
I use a small quantity of chestnut flour in this torte as it matches perfectly with the dark chocolate and autumnal figs. I order it directly from Golden Fields in Canterbury (along with my favouite dandelion coffee), a little goes a long way! You can replace 1/4 - 1/3 of the flour in recipes with chestnut flour for a sweet and earthy flavour. Plain wheat flour, spelt or buckwheat can be used in place of the chestnut flour.
150g 70% dark chocolate - I used Hogarth Craft Chocolate single origin Peru
4 free range eggs
3 tablespoon muscovado sugar or sweetener of choice
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons chestnut flour or plain flour
5-6 ripe figs, halved, or quartered if large
- Preheat oven 175°C. Line and grease a 10 x 30cm rectangular tart tin or 25cm round cake tin.
- Melt butter gently in a saucepan and add chopped chocolate stirring until melted together. Remove from the heat. Beat together the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla until creamy. Slowly pour in the chocolate mixture, beating to combine. Fold through the flour. Pour into the lined tin, top with the fig halves and bake for 25 minutes. A bit of wobble in the middle is ideal. Cool completely in the tin. Serve for afternoon tea with a cuppa dandelion coffee.